Follow the animal health treatment regime that has been developed with your veterinarian. Be sure the regime is up to date and reviewed at least once a year each fall. Develop a reference binder to hold the labels of all products used and a drug withdrawal checklist for easy reference. Laminate a copy of the withdrawal checklist and post it on the wall of the treatment area.
Be sure your staff is trained in the procedures they are asked to perform.
Follow the recommended operating procedures for temping.
Properly restrain cattle in the chute when giving treatments.
Check the weight of animals to ensure proper dosage. Suspend the scale slightly for optimal weight measurement. Administer all injections in the neck. Alternate Sub-Q sites are found behind the top of the shoulder blades.
Use no more than 10 cc per injection site and space injections several inches apart. Use 16-gauge needles: 11/2″ for intramuscular and 1/2″–3/4″ for subcutaneous; 14-or 16-gauge, 11/2″–2″ for intravenous injections. Ensure injection sites are clean and monitor all injection site lesions.
Drugs are not to be used extra-or off-label, that is, don’t use a different dose or treat for a different disease/medical condition, route, frequency, duration or animal type other than indicated on the label of a drug.
Record all treatments for each animal. The records should be traceable by ID number. Record the date, temperature, diagnosis, drug used, dosage, route, withdrawal period and site of injection. Make injection-site maps when multiple injections are used. Monitor these treatment records for response and relapse rate to determine effectiveness of current treatment protocols. Record transfers of cattle and outcomes. For example, note if an animal goes from its home pen to the sick pen, or if it returns to the home pen, or if it simply dies. Keep these records for the length of the animal’s stay in the feedlot, and for up to two years afterward.
Have the crew sign off on their records. Monitor the staff to determine if they are following procedures and protocols. Get feedback from packers on injection site lesions and monitor the incidence. Identify all treated animals with an ear tag to assist in tracking purposes, especially when individual records may not be in place. Use feed medications according to the Compendium of Medicating Ingredient Brochures, or have a written feed prescription from a veterinarian.
Injection site lesions and abscesses are found during the feeding period and at processing. Excessive treatment, relapse, chronic or death rates in yearlings or calves.
Extra-label drugs found in working areas. Treated cattle not identified and records not kept.
Sick, recovery and chronic pens overcrowded. Low employee morale as it may be related to excessive sickness or death loss.
Number of needles purchased and used within one day does not indicate needles being changed every 10 head.
Special treatment procedures
Eyes — look for beginnings of eye irritations and injuries. If it is something such as pinkeye, treat with a broad-spectrum antimicrobial with label claim for pinkeye and apply an eye patch. If an ulcer is present, do a surgical eye flap after consulting with your veterinarian. If a foreign object such as wood chip, sliver or barley awn is in the eye, carefully remove it and flush the eye with saline. Ringworm — clean and treat appropriately. Use gloves to avoid contracting the disease. Abscesses — diagnose, lance and flush with disinfectant and treat any abscesses as appropriate. Establish good drainage. Dispose of used scalpels in a sharps container. Wounds — clean, treat and dress as appropriate. Try to determine the cause. A sharp edge on a post or a nail sticking out could cause more problems down the road if not fixed.
Foot and leg injuries — treat according to recommended standard protocols established by your veterinarian. If the diagnosis is not obvious, ask your veterinarian to examine the animal. If a series of similar injuries are recurring, check the facilities and watch the crew for rough handling. Use isolation or quarantine procedures for animals with very infectious diseases. Be prepared to notify the agriculture department if it is a reportable disease.
Use pesticides according to label directions and use only pesticides approved for cattle. Develop a Recommended Operating Procedure for pesticides.
Excessive eye problems.
Excessive ringworm showing up in pens. Excessive number of abscesses being treated and retreated.
Excessive number of infected wounds and injuries being treated.
The Quality Starts Here manual on Recommend Operating Procedures (ROP) for feedlot animal health urges managers to develop standard treatment regimes for common feedlot diseases in consultation with their herd veterinarian.